The Volkswagen Golf R Estate has become something of a modern cult classic for young families looking for a do-it-all performance load-lugger without the six-figure price tag of an Audi RS6 Avant. Its classless image, impressive performance and interior space have been a winning combination, appealing to enough customers to make it a popular and profitable model in the range.
It’s no surprise then that VW is already at work on its successor, based on the all-new Golf 8. Despite the Golf R’s performance focus, the test mule pictured here has some creative disguise applied, with a combination of performance elements and rugged cladding aping the previous generation Golf Alltrack.
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Don’t be fooled by the black wheelarch surrounds and bright sill extensions though, as this Golf’s true identity is betrayed by details that are impossible to disguise. Giving the game away up front is the upsized intercooler peeking out from behind the front bumper, which itself looks like a variation of the one we’ve seen on other Golf R test cars. The 19-inch wheel and tyre package surrounds bigger brakes, complete with blue calipers, while around the back are the typical quad exhaust tips. VW has yet to officially confirm specifics about the new Golf R, but we expect that it’ll share the technical package that’s already been revealed in the Arteon and Tiguan R models.
In those cars VW has fitted its latest evo4 iteration of the EA888 turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produces 315bhp and 310lb ft of torque. We suspect power will then be sent via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to a revised 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with a torque-vectoring rear differential.
The black plastic cladding seen on this prototype also looks suspiciously well executed for a prototype. This could perhaps mean we’re getting a preview of a new Alltrack variant in the same car, but it remains to be seen whether this combination of rugged exterior design and the R’s potent drivetrain would ever be considered for production.
The rest of the package will be typical of the standard Golf 8, so expect impressive refinement, the new tech-forward interior with its endless digital interfaces, and impressive build quality. The Golf Estate and Golf R models will both be revealed this autumn, with the R Estate to follow some time after.